“My biles purge on your biles.”
“They catch my bloat thrall, which explodes near this scrap thrall and-“
“This is silly.”
This week we will discuss how best to face the threat of Lich Lord Asphyxious when you yourself have a Cryx force. Mirror matches, Faction vs. Faction not to mention Caster vs. Caster or even List vs. List are always a funny matter. They tend to be games wherein you walk a razor’s edge between utter victory or defeat. In the Cygnar mirror match there are very rarely models left alive on the table at the end of the game as everyone shoots everything. The Cryx mirror match, which I’ll use as a term for the Faction on Faction action, is a pretty play intensive one. Whoever utilises their hordes of melee infantry better, or gets the few additional purges off, wins.
Lich2 has a very solid game against most Cryx lists. The clouds are a nightmare for melee infantry swarms, as are bile thralls. Many lists have one unit of satyxis which provide excarnate targets which are very far forward and thus allow for a good purge or two before you run out of targets which is usually enough to tip the attrition game in your favour. Cryx, however, like most Factions that often succeed well in American tournaments, have some very good answers to Cryx.
The Lich exemplifies Cryx, and as always banes have a bane! Guns and Denial, the former is not something Cryx is known for, but they have some excellent denial casters. Within the faction, it is good to avoid melee living infantry, so satyxis of both kinds are a liability. That said, blood witches offer so much utility they must still be considered. Incorporeal troops are also safe from bile thrall purges, which is excellent in a Lich mirror match. Watch out for the blood witches magical weapons though! And the blood witches can still be excarnated to make a bile thrall aiming at another unit.
The combination of guns and incorporeal make pistol wraiths an excellent choice in this matchup. Another excellent choice is Gerlack Slaghterborn. Lich2 armies tend to be tightly packed and full of low Def troopers, only one unit of which have Tough. He should often be kept back a bit until the mid-game, but if he gets to mulch half a unit of banes he’s done a good job. For the most part however, when delving into the toolbox we want to look at the Mercenary options available, especially as many Cryx players neglect them.
Gerlack has way more non-PP images on Google than I would have expected.
Nyss hunters are obviously head and shoulders above the rest here. They have range 12” Hunter bows, they are fast, and their accuracy 6 is often a solid start against Cryx troops. The high Def doesn’t hurt, nor does the melee capabaility. They are very susceptible to bile thralls, but what troops aren’t. Be aware though, that they can’t work in an army which has Gerlack or his kind, as they have animosity blighted. An addition I would suggest is Dougal McNaile. Making the Nyss 14” for one round is excellent against Lich2, not to mention the Quad Iron gun can easily do it’s own work.
Boomhowlers warrant an honourable mention, which applies to pirates as well. Both units can be 4+ tough, which is excellent if you can take out the blood hag. Both units have range 8” guns, which are quite inaccurate, but excellent if you can apply some Def debuffs. They require very careful play to get the best out of, hitting the hag and biles as hard as possible, but they can be good for interrupting the bane train’s momentum.
The Garden Shed
Terminus, despite almost never having living troops, is not a great matchup. Lich’s feat can almost always kill him and Lich’s army flat out wins that slugfest, Venethrax is an even more straight forward match for the Lich. Scaverous wins the bile threat game, but doesn’t teleport back and then probably dies to the feat. Mortenebra is a laughably bad choice here. The Lich2/Lich2 game is miserable for everyone, and depends on who makes the first or biggest mistake. Neither of his other incarnations are a particularly good choice. Amusingly this means the Lich is really good against all of the other Iron Lichs.
Overcompensating with bile threat ranges won’t get you any love.
Instead I’m going to look to the living (for the most part) ladies (ostensibly) of the Faction.
I think Skarre1 might have a solid game here. She often takes even more guys/dudes/models than Lich, and dark guidance means every attack hits a model. Then you have to leverage your numbers while not getting too badly biled. This is where a pistol wraith or two comes in handy. Two is ideal because it’s harder to block them with clouds if they swoop up different sides. Gerlack, with blood witches and dark guidance could eat the entire army if they are packed tightly enough.
There are some interesting arguments for a Kraken and Gerlack with Skarre2, but they are too half-formed for any deeper discussion. I just thought I’d share the seed of the idea.
The Kitchen Sink
The truth is though, it’s powerful Denial feats and Def debuffs that make this matchup smoother, and the two Deneghras are by far the best options here. They also work really well with Mercenary guns.
Deneghra1 is the other caster in the game, along with the epic incarnation of her twin, who gets considered for Lich’s spot as the best. She has answers to everything but magic denial, and even then her feat is incredibly powerful. Your game plan, is to use your guns to take off the a thin skin of troops and force him to close in hard, so that Deneghra doesn’t have to come very far forward to feat on a swath of his army. She has to be very wary of Spectral Legion. When the models die all of the status effects are removed, so a tartarus bane charge will end Denny no sweat. Keep her carefully screened and as far back as she can while being effective.
You probably want to crippling grasp the biles or bane knights, but the blood witches or ghost raiders can be a better choice. This is because if he has the Withershadow Combine crippling grasp’s speed or special attack debuff probably won’t come into it, but the front units can be too far ahead, and you can focus on the offensive aspects of it. The Deneghra1 pirate boat isn’t the worst, but realistically you want Nyss.
Have you GRASPED the concept yet!?
The Wraith Witch, Deneghra2, is the absolute best matchup possible however. She has many of Grim Angus’s spells and a similar feat, making her tooled to face Cryx. Marked for death is incredible, it totally removes Stealth and Incorporeal as defensive mechanisms, which is excellent for letting you shoot the first wave of ghostly troops. It also drops Def making every attack count against the already low Def troops.
Her feat is gut-punchingly effective against a melee army full of infantry, on that turn almost every attack should hit, and often kill. Then you can capitalise on positioning, or clear a zone if that option is open, though it’s less likely that you use it for scenario in this matchup. If you have Gerlack, then you can launch him in, let him go crazy at effective Mat 11, then position him out of reach of the rest of your foe’s army. If you manage this carefully, either Lich has to go all out to kill him with spare attacks, doing little else on the feat turn, or Gerlack get’s to go off against his force twice which would be utterly devastating.
I’ve been cheating though! I didn’t mention the spell that immediately jumps out. Deneghra2 has hellmouth. If she also takes a Deathjack, then she can be using two hellmouths a turn, which is utterly crushing for the banes. It’s some of the very rare RFP in Cryx that effects undead, as many Cryx tricks don’t work on the unliving. If you can be very safe on the feat turn, a double hellmouth then can totally swing the game, more likely though, you want to have the Deathjack cast it that turn, and have Deneghra camp. Then the turn after that she backs up, you run an arc node in and Deathjack can cast it again, really driving your advantage home.
Don’t kid yourself though. In a long haul game, Lich will almost always pull it back. You need to destroy your foe on that feat turn.
Deneghra2, 6 warjack points
-Deathjack, 12 points
-Defiler x2, 5 points each
Cylena Raefyll and Nyss hunters, full unit, 10 points
Bane Knights, full unit, 10 points
Pistol Wraith, x2, 3 points each
Dougal McNaile, 2 points
Ragman, 2 points
Gorman DiWulfe, 2 points
Warwitch Siren, 2 points
Dougal let’s you have 14” Nyss, which is highly effective on the feat turn, while himself then having a 12” quad-iron at +3 or more to hit! He’s at his best with Deneghra. Gorman is there to be his usual awesome self, and largely to throw clouds in front of Deneghra as she moves up. The siren wins out against a skarlock, because your troops rare already ghostly or pathfinder and you are going to be focus strapped, especially if using hellmouth. Ragman gives the list really serious ARM swings with Curse and Gorman, so it can handle a wider variety of threats. I chose the defilers for the ability to use their awesome sprays on the feat turn to really earn their points back.
Next week, is a mystery!